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The Oscar nominated Live Action Shorts

The live action shorts are not nearly as short as the animated ones. Some even clock in at over a half hour. (The cut-off is 40 minutes.) I imagine that is because animation is so labor intensive. But the added time is not wasted. These movies are more than scenes cut from a longer story. They are stand-alone films where the narrative may be compact, but the characters live out their full arcs. And the genres for these films are as varied as the locations they cover — drama, fantasy, even comedy, in New York City, Somalia, and Afghanistan. All of them are extremely well made with interesting stories, directed with assurance and with some surprising casting choices. The full roster of shorts is showing in some theaters around the country, but I think that is a horrible way to see them. They should be seen one at a time before a feature, as the film gods intended. (You can view all the trailers at the end of this post and decide for yourself if you want to venture out ahead of the Oscars.)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two

I read all the books, okay?? So yeah – I absolutely had to see this thing through to the end. So there! I did it! I watched, and survived, all FIVE cinematic installments of the four-book phenomenon that was “Twilight”. That’s the good news. The bad news is… this last hurrah, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two, kinda sucks, which fittingly enough, brings the franchise full circle. ‘Cause the first one kinda sucked too. But therein lies my disappointment. As the years wore on, and the broodingly attractive actors grew into their roles, I became rather smitten with the Twilight movies. New Moon in 2009, Eclipse in 2010 and Breaking Dawn – Part One in 2011 were decent enough flicks, all things considered. So what happened?

I’ll tell ya what happened. Hollywood, in its misguided attempts to bleed the franchise dry, broke the last and weakest book of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance quadrilogy into two parts, giving the most convoluted chapters a movie all their own. Big mistake.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

Yes, I was indeed among the masses who helped Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part One reap nearly $140 Million at the box office in its opening weekend. And I make no apologies. I read the books and liked them (for the most part). I saw the first three movies in the series. The first one was quite bad; the second one was better; the third one was quite good. And now, the fourth – well, it’s definitely weak. But it doesn’t really matter. Once you’re sucked into the franchise, you have no choice but to see it through (thus the boffo box office numbers for this penultimate installment of the franchise). My only hope is that Part Two somehow manages to provide a more satisfying conclusion than the book itself, which was my least favorite of the bunch.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Ka-Ching! There’s no way this franchise won’t continue to make millions (upon millions upon millions), no matter what the critics – or any Twilight naysayers- might have to say about it. The first Twilight movie was pretty bad. Actually, it was really, really, almost comically bad. But two satisfying sequels later – and all is forgiven.

Valentine’s Day

Garry Marshall is brilliant. He made a mildly entertaining movie with an A-List cast and a name that virtually guarantees it a place in holiday rerun history. Valentine’s Day is like Crash-light. Really, really, really light. It follows a bunch of folks whose lives intersect in various ways as they break up, make up, find love or survive singledom on Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles.